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Idea 13 All change in Rotherham: Creating and modifying layers using PowerPoint

All change in Rotherham: Creating and modifying layers using PowerPoint

This project idea was contributed by John Lyon

Exam Board Components that this project links with
AQA A Unit 2, Section A: Changing Urban Environments
AQA B Unit 1: Managing Places in the 21st Century, The Urban Environment
Edexcel A Unit 1, Section A: Geographical Skills
Unit 3, Section A: Settlement Change
Edexcel B Unit 2, Section A: Living Spaces
Unit 2, Section B: Changing Cities
OCR B Theme 2: Population and Settlement
WJEC B Theme 1: Challenges of Living in a Built Environment


This activity is ideal if you don’t have access to a GIS or the Internet in your classroom. It shows how you can still create layers of your own using simple tools like Microsoft PowerPoint and Paint. If you can source a range of maps and aerial photographs these can be resized, manipulated and layered in PowerPoint. This is a basic but effective way of modelling land use change, as shown in this example.

Step by Step

1. Insert your images into a PowerPoint file. They may be different sizes but if you click on the image you can resize it by moving the cursor over the corner and holding down the left button on the mouse to drag the picture to make it larger or smaller.

2. Once you have put two or more images into the same slide you can think about fading them in and out. To fade an image in then carefully follow the following steps. With the image you want to fade in selected, click on the ‘Animations’ tab as shown below.

In the drop down ‘Animate’ menu select ‘Fade’. It will probably be preferable to slow down the speed of the fade and you can do this by clicking on ‘Custom Animation’ and modifying the speed to ‘Very Slow’. Lots of new layers can be added and faded in or out in this way.

3. If you want your students to change or design their own layers they can copy and paste an image into Microsoft Paint. Students can draw their own layer to add to the animation sequence and copy it back into PowerPoint.

The Result – a tool for exploring landscape change or designing your own new community.

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